white-eyed grass This is national wildflower week! Did you know that? To celebrate I attended a tour sponsored by the Prairie Plains Resource Institute www.prairieplains.org  Tuesday.  I plan to go on another tour Saturday. PPRI owns several properties across the state that can be accessed at one’s leisure. I learned several things on this first tour. #1 Not many people are as excited to tromp around in the grass as I am. Only one other person showed up, and he was well known to the guides.


#2 It is exceptionally difficult to take a photo of a wildflower during daylight, with a moderately priced digital camera. The sunlight reflecting on the screen makes it impossible to see if you got a clear shot. 

Ratzlaff prairie

#3 I still have my eye. Part of my job used to be driving around in people’s pastures looking at plants. I got to see lots of different places, not just the public access ones.  After resigning in 2004 and really leaving the area where one finds abundant wildflowers in 1997, I was happy to find that I can still spot a tiny flower in the middle of the tall grass. Obviously I could still look at flowers when ever I want, but a lot of the prairie is planted to corn and soybeans around here. Most of what isn’t has been overgrazed and invasive grasses have taken over.

Prairie ragwort

#4 I learned a couple of new plants, new to me anyways.

pink poppy mallow

#5 I can go to these prairies when ever I want, and one is pretty close to my house, so I hope to get some great native grass photos later in the season. You are surely rolling your eyes if you have even made it this far, but I get excited about native grass. I know Nebraska’s main grasses by their Latin names as well as common names. Unfortunately most of the grass around here is smooth brome, it came from Russia, and it wasn’t one of her greatest gifts to the new world. I believe she also sent over leafy spurge, another gift we should have returned unopened.


#6 I am a little out of shape!